The First Time Rascal Flatts Heard Their Song On Radio Did Not Go As Expected

The first time an artist hears their song on radio is a memorable one, but the reaction to Rascal Flatts' debut release was not what they expected.

Written by Lauren Laffer
The First Time Rascal Flatts Heard Their Song On Radio Did Not Go As Expected
Rascal Flatts; Photo via The Greenroom PR

It’s been 17½ years since Rascal Flatts hit the country music scene with their debut single, “Prayin’ For Daylight.” Since its release, the group has gone on to earn numerous ACM, CMA, GRAMMY, and AMA Awards, among others, as well as send 17 singles to the top of the country radio charts. But 17 years later, the band still remembers the first time they heard their song on the radio.

“We were all three together. On the bus at the BNA Airport and they were doing a ‘Shine the Lights On It or Turn the Lights Out,’” recalled the band’s Jay DeMarcus at a recent press conference. “At about 9 o’clock at night, ‘Prayin’ for Daylight’ was on. And the first call was like ‘I love it! It’s different, I say shine the light on it!’ And the second caller was a dude, and we were all huddled around the radio up in the front of the bus, he said, ‘I’ll tell you what, I don’t like that at all. You need to turn the lights out on that. It’s awful.’”

The band felt defeated as the next two calls were also against their first attempt at radio. However, they listened long enough to hear the tide turn and the lines blow up for their song.

“There were about ten in a row that were good calls, but I tell you what, for the first four calls we were like going, ‘Oh no, oh no. Take the bus back and let’s get our jobs back at the Piggly Wiggly, this is awful,’” he said with a laugh.

The song peaked at No.3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and laid the groundwork for a long-lasting career for the group. Rascal Flatts is back with their 10th studio album, featuring the No.1 song “Yours If You Want It” and their latest single and title track “Back To Us.”